Major media companies are again trying to pass the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), a bill that would shield them from online competition, bolstering legacy media in the face of widespread public distrust and to a failing business model.
According to an exclusive story published by News Corp’s the wall street journal (News Corp has been a major supporter of this legislation and similar efforts around the world), the new version of the JCPA would give an even greater advantage to traditional media companies, granting them an antitrust exemption for ten years instead of the original bill’s four years.
Publishers would have the legal power to form a cartel, usually illegal under antitrust law, to collectively bargain with Silicon Valley tech giants for financial relief and special treatment, such as prioritization of search results, news feeds and other essential features.
The amended bill would also force Big Tech to settle with Big Media, imposing an arbitration process on them. If Big Tech companies can’t voluntarily make a deal to favor discredited Big Media companies, an arbitrator will impose one on them.
The likely losers from the bill are the new generation of freelance journalists and content creators on Substack, YouTube, Twitch and other platforms, creators young people are increasingly turning to as trust in media inherited fades. Since these are not traditional media companies, this new generation of media creators would likely be excluded from the benefits of the bill.
The previous version of the bill excluded any media creators who were not “in the same situation” as other members of the cartel, which would certainly have excluded new online competitors from legacy media.
There is no indication in the Wall Street Journal report that this has changed.
Several Republican lawmakers, including GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) have all denounced the JCPA. , warning that it is aid to discredited media companies that also deepens their collusion with Big Tech.
Experts including FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington, President Trump’s technology expert Professor Adam Candeub and former federal antitrust enforcement official Dr. Daniel Francis have all warned that the law was wrong.
the the wall street journal points to a new amendment, which limits the bill’s protections to media companies with fewer than 1,500 employees, as proof that the amended bill isn’t just a bailout for the biggest and smallest media companies. richest in the world.
This is an error. Many wealthy and influential national media brands, including MSNBC and the Washington Post, already has fewer than 1,500 employees.
Moreover, it would be trivial for companies with more than 1,500 employees, whose The Wall Street Journal, to use corporate restructuring to split divisions into separate companies, allowing them to benefit from the bill’s protections.
Restructuring to avoid antitrust legislation is common in the corporate world. For example, Google – which owns YouTube – restructured into Alphabet, of which Google and YouTube are technically no longer mere subsidiaries.
There is no indication in the the wall street journal that the cap of 1,500 employees will solve this problem. There are many large media conglomerates, including News Corp, Disney, Hearst and others, that own multiple news companies with 1,500 or fewer employees.
Nothing in the Wall Street Journal report indicates that these giant parent companies (some of which are worth billions of dollars) or their subsidiaries will be excluded from the cap.
In other words, the bill still looks like corporate welfare for some of the world’s least trusted brands.
It also comes at a time when big tech companies are willingly giving huge sums of money to legacy media companies.
Last year, it was reported that Facebook was paying massive “licensing fees” to news publishers totaling $1.6 billion. Google has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in news companies for years, including a recent deal worth tens of millions of dollars for access to News Corp content.
Big Tech favors Big Media in other ways, including censoring its competitors and artificially promoting them to users. In 2018, Breitbart News published a YouTube leak showing how the video platform rigs its search results to favor legacy media.
Despite this patronage and the subsidies they already receive, major media companies continue to push for the JCPA and similar laws around the world.
Media lobbyists have persuaded the Australian government to pass laws requiring tech companies to give them handouts, and similar legislation has now been proposed in Canada.
Allum Bokhari is Breitbart News’ Senior Technology Correspondent. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.